Stay at home — and stay an­gry

Times Standard (Eureka) - - OPINION - Jill Richard­son OtherWords colum­nist Jill Richard­son is pur­su­ing a Ph.D. in so­ci­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sinMadi­son. Dis­trib­uted by

So­cial dis­tanc­ing is hard, and it’s not fun.

I don’t ques­tion that we are do­ing what is nec­es­sary. Un­til bet­ter test­ing, treat­ment, and pre­ven­tion are avail­able, it is. But quar­an­tin­ing us in our homes sep­a­rates us at a time when we need con­nec­tion.

And you know what? It’s OK to feel an­gry about that. It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber we’re do­ing this in part be­cause the peo­ple at the top screwed up.

Trump fired the pan­demic re­sponse team two years ago, even though Obama’s peo­ple warned them that we needed to work on pre­pared­ness for ex­actly this in 2016. Un­sur­pris­ingly, a gov­ern­ment sim­u­la­tion ex­er­cise just last year found we were not pre­pared for a pan­demic.

Later on, even after the disease had come to the U.S., in­fec­tious disease ex­perts in Wash­ing­ton State had to fight the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for the right to test for the coro­n­avirus.

I’m young enough that I don’t have to worry much about the like­li­hood of a se­ri­ous case if I get sick. But I’m stay­ing home, be­cause I don’t want to get it and ac­ci­den­tally spread it to some­one more vul­ner­a­ble than my­self.

I’m also aware of the sac­ri­fice many of us are mak­ing for the sake of oth­ers. Some lost their jobs, while oth­ers put them­selves at risk work­ing out­side the home be­cause they can’t af­ford not to — or, in the case of health care work­ers, be­cause they’re badly needed.

En­tire fam­i­lies are cooped up to­gether and I’ve heard jokes that di­vorce lawyers will get plenty of busi­ness after this. Par­ents are post­ing memes about how much they ap­pre­ci­ate teach­ers now that they are stuck with their kids all day. I’m en­tirely alone be­sides a cat.

I worry about the col­lege se­niors grad­u­at­ing this year and try­ing to find a job. How much will this ex­ac­er­bate do­mes­tic abuse? What about peo­ple in jails, pris­ons, and de­ten­tion cen­ters?

I’m sup­port­ive of do­ing all we can to pre­vent the virus’s spread and to pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, but anger at the peo­ple whose in­com­pe­tence put us in this po­si­tion is jus­ti­fied. We de­serve bet­ter.

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